Tuesday, November 03, 2009

MLB's Finest

Is it me or have these umpiring crews been absolutely awful this postseason? It seems like almost every night from the start of these playoffs that the umpire have been at the forefront of every post game interview. At a time when the umpires are supposed to be at their best, when they are supposed to go unnoticed, when they are supposed to be invisible, they are making headlines.

Joe Buck made the statement on FOX before game one of the World Series that MLB has decided to go with a veteran, experienced, World Series conditioned crew in order to avoid some of the controversy that came about in the earlier playoff series. Nice Try MLB. The sad thing is, I understand that the first base umpire couldn't see that Ryan Howard trapped that ball, He was behind they play. I understand that things happen from game to game that umpires just miss, its the human error factor. My biggest complaint about these umpires is their strike zones.

Yes, of course there is a different home plate umpire for each game, Yes I know each has their own version of the strike zone, and Yes, each team has to stand in the box and hit with that umpires strike zone. My argument is that a strike is a strike and a ball is a ball, call it that way. I have seen more replays of close pitches in this World Series than I have seen replays of close plays. Every time a pitcher winds up and throws a pitch, FOX is showing us a replay with the digital strike zone in the bottom of the screen and the only thing we are learning from it is how bad the home plate umpires have been. Just watching hitters from both teams as an umpire calls a strike is enough to make you see what I mean. They grimace, they complain, they react in a way that tells you that they don't think the pitch was a strike. Then FOX goes to the replay, Tim McCarver says something profound like; "That pitch was a Ball" and K-Zone agrees.

I have spent my entire life watching, playing, coaching this game and I know that complaining about a strike zone gets you no where. The only thing you can ask for is some sort of consistency in the zone and so far through 5 games of this World Series there has been everything but that. Baseball is supposed to have the best umpires officiating the two best teams in the game in the Fall Classic and instead it looks like MLB is conducting an umpire training school. Something has to be done in the future. The umps need to get more accurate and more consistent in their approach. A good umpire is one that nobody notices and this is going to be one of the only World Series where the fans remember the boys in blue just as much as they do the players. But hey, there are only two perfect people in this world...The Lord and Umpires.


tamtam said...

I agree-these refs have been HORRIBLE!!

Do these refs seriously need new pairs of glasses, or have the Yankees been paying them off to ensure victory (notice how most of the bad calls go against the Phillies?)?

GM-Carson said...

I actually think the bad calls have been equally bad, and I'm an obsessed Phils fan. I hate the strike zone as well, because it's constantly fluctuating. How can a pitch at the knees in the middle of the plate be a ball, then a pitch 5 inches off the plate and high be a strike? Makes no sense!

tamtam said...

It doesn't, but then again, I've seen refs who've made the strike zone about as big as a postage stamp, and then later on expand it from the hitter's nose to his toes.

Catchers should probably have the strike zone painted on their chest protectors, or better yet, have some kind of holographic image of the strike zone (I'm going out on a limb here, but it's worth a shot) in front of the catcher. That way, there is no more arguing about the size of strike zone.